The Treasury of David

The Treasury of David is one of several C.H. Spurgeon books that are in the public domain. If you propose to study the Psalms, I suggest you download this as a companion for your other references.

Psalm 37

Title. Of David. There is but this word to denote the authorship; whether it was a song or a meditation we are not told. It was written by David in his old age Psalms 37:25, and is the more valuable as the record of so varied an experience.

Subject. The great riddle of the prosperity of the wicked and the affliction of the righteous, which has perplexed so many, is here dealt with in the light of the future; and fretfulness and repining are most impressively forbidden. It is a Psalm in which the Lord hushes most sweetly the too common repinings of his people, and calms their minds as to his present dealings with his own chosen flock, and the wolves by whom they are surrounded. It contains eight great precepts, is twice illustrated by autobiographical statements, and abounds in remarkable contrasts.

Division. The Psalm can scarcely be divided into considerable sections. It resembles a chapter of the book of Proverbs, most of the verses being complete in themselves. It is an alphabetical Psalm: in somewhat broken order, the first letters of the verses follow the Hebrew alphabet. This may have been not only a poetical invention, but a help to memory. The reader is requested to read the Psalm through without comment before he turns to our exposition.
The Treasury of David.

Psalm 37:5

Exposition

Commit thy way unto the Lord. Roll the whole burden of life upon the Lord. Leave with Jehovah not thy present fretfulness merely, but all thy cares; in fact, submit the whole tenor of thy way to him. Cast away anxiety, resign thy will, submit thy judgment, leave all with the God of all. What a medicine is this for expelling envy! What a high attainment does this fourth precept indicate! How blessed must he be who lives every day in obedience to it! Trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. Our destiny shall be joyfully accomplished if we confidently entrust all to our Lord. We may serenely sing—

“Thy way, not mine, O Lord,

However dark it be;

O lead me by thine own right hand,

Choose out the path for me.”

“Smooth let it be or rough,

It will be still the best;

Winding or straight, it matters not,

It leads me to thy rest.”

“I dare not choose my lot,

I would not if I might;

But choose Thou for me, O my God,

So shall I walk aright.”

“Take thou my cup, and it

With joy or sorrow fill;

As ever best to thee may seem,

Choose thou my good and ill.”

The ploughman sows and harrows, and then leaves the harvest to God. What can he do else? He cannot cover the heavens with clouds, or command the rain, or bring forth the sun or create the dew. He does well to leave the whole matter with God; and so to all of us it is truest wisdom, having obediently trusted in God, to leave results in his hands, and expect a blessed issue.

Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings

Commit thy way unto the Lord, etc. When we bear the burden of our own affairs ourselves, and are chastised with anxiety and want of success, and with envying the ungodly who prosper better than we do, the best remedy is first to do our duty, as we are enabled in the use of the means, then cast the care of the success over on God, as the ploughman doth when he hath harrowed his land; and let the burden of it rest on God, and let us not take it off him again, but put our mind to rest, resolved to take the harvest in good part, as he shall send it. David Dickson.

Commit thy way unto the Lord, is rendered by the Vulgate, Revela viam Domino, reveal thy way; and by St. Ambrose, understood of revealing our sins to God. Indeed, since it is impossible to cover, why should we not discover our sins? Conceal not that which God knoweth already, and would have thee to make known. It is a very ill office to be the devil’s secretary. Oh, break thy league with Satan be revealing his secrets, thy sins, to God. Nathaniel Hardy.

Commit thy way unto. Margin and Hebrew, Roll thy way upon—as one who lays upon the shoulder of one stronger than himself a burden which he is not able to bear. William De Burgh, D.D., in “A Commentary on the Book of Psalms. Dublin:” 1860.

Note the double again, Commit and trust. C.H.S.

He shall bring it to pass. When a hard piece of work is put into the hand of an apprentice for the first assay of his skill, the beholders are justly afraid of a miscarriage in his young and inexperienced hand; but when the worker is an old master of craft, none are afraid but his cunning hand can act again what so oft it hath wrought to the contentment of all the beholders. Were our God a novice in the great art of governing the world, and of the church in the bosom thereof; had he to this day never given any proof of his infinite wisdom, power, and goodness, in turning about the most terrible accidents to the welfare and joy of his saints; we might indeed be amazed whenever we feel ourselves sinking in the dangers wherein the practices of our enemies oft do plunge us over head and ears; but the Lord having given in times past so many documents of his uncontroverted skill and most certain will to bring about all human affairs, as to his own glory, so to the real good of all that love him, it would be in us an impious and unexcusable uncharitableness to suspect the end of any work which he hath begun. Robert Baylie’s Sermon before the House of Commons, 1643.

Ver. 5, 7.:—

To God thy way commending,

Trust him whose arm of might,

The heavenly circles bending,

Guides every star aright:

The winds, and clouds, and lightning,

By his sure hand are led;

And he will dark shades brightening.

Show thee what path to tread.

Although to make God falter,

The powers of hell combine,

One jot they cannot alter

Of his all wise design:

All projects and volition

Of his eternal mind,

Despite all opposition,

Their due fulfilment find.

No more, then, droop and languish,

Thou sorrow stricken soul;

Even from the depths of anguish,

Whose billows over thee roll,

Thy Father’s hand shall draw thee:

In hope and patience stay,

And joy will soon shed over thee

An ever brightening ray.

All faithless murmurs leaving,

Bid them a last good night,

No more thy vexed soul grieving,

Because things seem not right;

Wisely his sceptre wielding,

God sits in regal state,

No power to mortals yielding,

Events to regulate.

Trust with a faith untiring

In thine Omniscient King,

And thou shalt see admiring

What he to light will bring.

Of all thy griefs, the reason

Shall at the last appear:

Why now denied a season,

Will shine in letters clear.

Then raise thine eyes to heaven,

Thou who canst trust his frown;

Thence shall thy meed be given,

The chaplet and the crown:

Thy God the palm victorious

In thy right hand shall plant,

Whilst thou, in accents glorious,

Melodious hymns shall chant.

Paul Gerhard (1606-1676), translated by Frances Elizabeth Cox, in “Hymns from the German,” 1864.

Hints to the Village Preacher

Ver. 5-6. The higher life.

  1. Based on hearty resignation.
  2. Sustained by faith.
  3. Constantly unfolded by the Lord.
  4. Consummated in meridian splendour.

The Treasury of David.

Singing Psalms 37

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